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What is the Zero to Stockpile Challenge

Zero to Stockpile Challenge


What is the Zero to Stockpile Challenge?

The Zero to Stockpile Challenge is a way to show you, as a new couponer, how important the stockpile is to your savings. It takes you through a process, step by step, to show you exactly how to save money on your groceries.

Remember the saying, good things don’t happen overnight? Well, that saying is true even for saving money on your groceries.

Why Do I Need a Stockpile?

Grocery Stockpile List - How To Build Your Stockpile

Stockpile, noun: a large supply of food gathered and held in reserve for use during a shortage or during a period of higher prices.

Stockpiling, verb: to accumulate for future use; put or store in a stockpile.

In my opinion, the power of the stockpile, is one of the hardest concepts for newbies to understand. So many times, through social media and even through our website here on LRWC, you see shopping trips of, sometimes, unusual items making you scratch your head wondering, what are they eating if that is all they bought this week.

I get it! One week I would buy 4 bottles of shampoo, a box of toothpaste, 2 packs of toilet paper for next to nothing. Maybe stopping at the farmers market for some produce along the way. And that’s it. But, what am I eating is always a hot question. You certainly can’t eat shampoo, toilet paper and toothpaste. Nor can you survive on just some produce.

That is where the stockpile comes in. But, how did I get to that point? The point of being able to live on food I already have while buying only the free and cheap items that are available each week.

As I said, it’ doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. A process that takes about three months.

During that three month process, you will be building up a stockpile for your pantry and your freezer by buying the items, when they are priced at the lowest price you have seen, and then stocking up on them.

You will notice, along that three month period, that your price point for each in your stockpile will gradually decrease. You’ll be able to control how much you want to spend on those items once you are in the drivers seat. To get yourself in the drivers seat, you need to build up a stockpile.

How Do I Know When to Buy Something for My Stockpile?

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Is this something I need for my family?
  2. Am I getting a good deal on it? For instance, is it on sale, are there coupons that will help lower the price even more?
  3. If I already have it in my stockpile, do I need to buy more of it to get my family through about 3 months or the next great sale?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then go for it. Buy it and add it to your growing stockpile.

What Type of Items Should I Put in My Stockpile?

That is a good question and is unique to each family as it depends on what you use and what your family likes. The list is long but here are some basic items:

  • Condiments (BBQ Sauce, steak sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayo)
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Snacks (crackers, nachos, salsa, popcorn)
  • Canned goods (tomatoes, sauce, soups, vegetables)
  • Cereals
  • Cleaning supplies (cleaners, garbage bags, laundry)
  • Drinks (water, soda, iced tea, coffee, tea, juice)
  • Dairy (butter, creamers)
  • Meats & Fish (keep frozen)
  • Breads (keep frozen)
  • Health & Beauty Products (band aids, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, etc)

How Long Will It Take To See Big Savings?

Start your stockpile slowly only looking for those items that are cheap or free. Continue doing your regular grocery shopping during that time. Within 4 weeks of starting to build your stockpile, you will start to see your grocery bill go down as you trim out some of the items that are already sitting in your stockpile. Within 8 weeks, your grocery shopping will really start to turn over to just those free items and filling in your stockpile. By about 12 weeks, you should have a good solid stockpile that allows you to only pick up the free and cheap items and any produce or meat items you don’t already have packed in your freezer.

Follow the Process!

I encourage you to follow my journey that I took last year. You can see how I donated my entire stockpile in 2018, emptied out my full size freezer and purged all my coupons starting completely fresh, like a new couponer. You can see, step by step, how to start from Zero to Stockpile!


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How To Participate in the Zero to Stockpile Challenge

Following and participating in the Zero to Stockpile challenge is simple. There is nothing to join and nothing to pay for. You simply just follow along, on the Zero to Stockpile page,  as I collect my coupons, shop and save building my stockpile from scratch just like a brand new couponer would.

What you need to help you get started:

1. Get Your Coupons

How to Build A Stockpile on a Budget - Build a Grocery Stockpile -

There are so many places to score coupons. All our match ups and deals have all the latest coupons available matched with all the sales in tons of different stores.

You’ll find these resources very valuable in building your coupons:

  • Printable Coupons: Lists over 60 resources for printable coupons from almost every brand.
  • Sunday Coupon Insert Preview: Lists all the coupons coming our in the upcoming inserts.
  • Request Coupons from Companies: A great resource of companies that have from time to time offered coupons to consumers upon request.
  • Coupon Database: Bookmark this page because this has every coupon, every store coupon, every digital coupon and more. Awesome resource!
  • Download App: We’ve selected these 20 apps as the best money saving apps for 2018.

2. Organize Your Coupons

Being organized is the key to success. We like to keep things simple here at LRWC so we suggest the whole insert method of organizing your coupons. It’s quick and easy! You can view a short view about it right here.

These items are not necessary but many people request info on the items I use so I’ll provide them here:

Using these items means you can tuck the coupons away in a closet or corner until you are ready to prepare your shopping trip.

3. Find a Place to Store Your Stockpile

This can vary depending on the space you have. You will be collecting and storing about three months worth of items for you and your family. If there are just 2 of you living in an apartment, then you don’t need a ton of stuff and can utilize space in your cabinets and closets. Even storing some items, like paper towels or toilet paper,  under your bed. Get creative!

If you have the extra space in a closet, garage or basement, consider reusing a shelf or shelves you already have. I use these Edsal shelves and have been extremely pleased with them.

4. Find Your Store Match Ups

We cover the deals at over 25 stores from Target, Walmart, CVS and many local grocery stores. You can check out the full list of stores here.

5. Use These Savings Tools

Here are LRWC, we have made it as easy as possible for you to save.

6. Follow my progress

The best way to learn is to watch it being done first hand. That’s why at the beginning of January, I will have donated my entire stockpile, purged all my coupons and all my store rewards so you can see exactly how it’s done. From Zero to Stockpile.



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Comments off

Why Cindy Did the Zero to Stockpile Challenge

I’ve been a serious couponer for more than 10 years now saving my family, over those 10 years, over $100,000. What?! Yes those numbers are correct. Maybe even a little on the conservative site. But, it’s true. With a savings of around $10,000 a year on my groceries, over 10 years, that’s around $100,000.

When I first started Living Rich With Coupons, I had already built a nice stockpile and was fully into couponing. Meaning I was well past the beginners stage. From there, I taught thousands and thousands of people how to save, just like I was.

Over the years, I came to realize that, those that didn’t catch onto the how to save, didn’t quite understand the importance of a stockpile and how it effects your savings in the long run.

Too many times, I was faced with comments about my shopping trips. Wondering how I could feed my family on the items I was buying each week.

Which brings me to today.

Starting in January, I will be donating my entire stockpile. Purging my coupons and all my store rewards and starting over from zero.

This way, you, as a brand new couponer, can see how it’s done from zero. You can see, why, when you build your stockpile, you don’t need to buy that much each week. You can see how your grocery budget goes down, the more you gain control of what you HAVE to spend on your groceries instead of what you WANT to spend.

I hope you enjoy my challenge and participate along with me. You can follow the full Zero to Stockpile Challenge here. 


How many inserts do you get each week?
I get 4 inserts each week. I have a family size of about 4 (3 adults which would equate to an average 2 adults and 2 kids)

How long does it take you to see a difference in your spending?
It will take a good 4 weeks to start seeing your spending go down but you won’t see the full benefit of it until around 12 weeks

Why did you get rid of your coupons too?
I felt that, to truly be like a brand new coupons, I had to start completely fresh just as a new couponer would. Yes you miss out on some of the great deals because you don’t have the past coupons, but that is exactly why it takes about 4 weeks to really get a nice stockpile started and 12 weeks to get a complete stockpile.

Doesn’t couponing take you a lot of time? Is it really worth it?
We here on Living Rich With Coupons, do all the hard work for you already. We match up the sales with the coupons and rebates so you can just sit back and save. But, yes it takes time. It takes me about 3 extra hours per week. So do the math for me over the last 10 years:

Three hours a week for 10 years = 1560 hours
Total savings over 10 years – $100,000
That is an average of $64 an hour. Not too shabby for a “part time gig”

Are you increasing your grocery budget for this challenge?
I have no choice but to increase it. Having a stockpile allows me to keep my grocery budget low since I am in control of how much I want to spend on the items that are important to my family. Without a stockpile, I lose that control and will be forced to pay higher prices since.

When are you starting the challenge?
I’m donating my entire stockpile to Lunch Break in Red Bank, NJ on January 4th. I will start from zero on Sunday January 7th. My goal is to have my stockpile at it’s perfect point and my grocery budget back down only $100 a week after that.

I’m late to the challenge. Can I do it even after it started?
Absolutely! The challenge is yours to do no matter when you start. If you come in after we started or even after it’s complete, you can follow the progress I made and use it as a guide to do your very own challenge to get from Zero to Stockpile


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how to coupon

Step By Step Couponing – How to Coupon –

While doing the Zero to Stockpile Challenge, I donated my entire stockpile, emptied out my full size freezer and purged all my coupons starting completely fresh, like a new couponer so you can see Step by Step Couponing for Beginners and even for those that have already been couponing.

Normally, with the use of my stockpile, my grocery budget was just $100 each week however, I averaged only about $75 to $80 each week.

Having to increase my budget for this challenge was necessary as I had no stockpile or stocked freezer to live off of each week.

Below are posts for each of my shopping trips that I have done during this challenge. You’ll be able to see, as the weeks go by and my stockpile builds back up, that my grocery spending decreases. Then once again, I can be back to my original $100 a week grocery budget.

The first place to start is to follow the Challenges listed below. Each challenge is designed to help you along the way as you build your stockpile and learn how to save using coupons.

Here is the actual list of challenges:

  1. Finding Space for your Stockpile
  2. Get Ready for Your Coupons (or not?) 
  3. Preparing Your Grocery Budget & Goals
  4. Prepare Your Shopping List Early
  5. Meal Planning Made Simple
  6. Have a Plan to Build Your Stockpile That Works for Your Family

Below the Challenges are the Shopping Trips I did to Help Rebuild my Stockpile from Zero to Awesome. I highly encourage you to look through them so you can see what I bought, why I bought it and how it affected my stockpile.



Donation Day

Grocery Budget Tracker

 Cindy’s Weekly Grocery Budget Tracker –

While I was doing the Zero to Stockpile Challenge in 2018, I donated my entire stockpile, emptied out my full size freezer and purged all my coupons starting completely fresh, like a new couponer.

Normally, with the use of my stockpile, my grocery budget was just $75 each week.

Having to increase my budget for this challenge was necessary as I had no stockpile or stocked freezer to live off of each week.

This grocery budget tracker is to show you the impact that a stockpile makes to your grocery budget.

Hopefully, you can see that, as the weeks go by and my stockpile builds back up, my grocery spending decreases. Then once again, I can be back to my original $75 a week grocery budget.

This Budget Started 1/7/18

Challenges That will Help You Tons!

Cindy’s Stockpile List

I don’t usually keep a list of items in my stockpile as I find that task to be too time consuming. If you do, all the more power to you! However, for the purpose of the Zero to Stockpile Challenge, I will be showing all the items that were in my stockpile when I did the challenge in 2018

Remember, I donated my entire stockpile, emptied out my full size freezer and purged all my coupons starting completely fresh, like a new couponer so I could show you the process of getting started and the importance of building your very own stockpile. And most of all, how, having a stockpile, will help you control your spending of items you need for you and your family.

This list is from 2018! It is a nice guide – but put in your stockpile what you would use and need!



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